Maximum excitement with sporting index

The thrill of the world’s oldest football competition returns tonight and Manchester United will see the FA Cup as by far their best chance of silverware this season.

Despite sharing the record of 11 FA Cup wins with Arsenal, United haven’t lifted the trophy since 2004. Sporting Index have them trading as joint-second favourites on the FA Cup Outright Index at 46-50, alongside Manchester City, with Chelsea the 49-53 leaders.

Points are awarded as follows: winner = 100pts, runner-up = 70pts, lose semi-final = 50pts, lose quarter-final = 33pts, last 16 = 20pts, last 32 = 10pts. Buyers of United at 50 would need the Red Devils to reach the final to return a profit.

It might pay to take a chance on a lesser-fancied side. West Ham have shone in the league, and showed guts in the last round when beating Everton 9-8 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

The Hammers are pitched at 25-28. They have a winnable tie with Bristol City on Sunday and, granted luck with the draw, could go well. Buyers would make a profit of five times their stake even if they are beaten in the quarters. But if City defeat them then buyers would lose 18 times their stake.

Losses can exceed your initial deposit. Prices subject to fluctuation.